a colorless liquid with an odor similar to that of ethanol. Boiling point, 64.5°C; density, 0.7924 g/cm3 at 20°C. In volume concentrations of 6.72–36.5 percent, methanol reacts with air to form explosive mixtures with a flash point of 15.6°C. It is miscible in all proportions with water and most organic solvents and exhibits all the properties peculiar to monohydric alcohols. Methanol is prepared commercially from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Natural, coke-oven, and other hydrocarbon-bearing gases are the raw materials from which a 1:2 mixture of CO and HI is obtained. Methanol is used mainly in the preparation of formaldehyde, various ethers (for example, dimethyl terephthalate, the initial material for the manufacture of the synthetic fiber lavsan), and alkyl halides.
Methanol is a poison that affects the nervous and vascular systems. Taken internally, 5–10 milliliters (ml) of methyl alcohol induces severe poisoning, and a dose of 30 ml or more is lethal.
V. N. FROSIN